Managing your money is an important part of your life, especially when you’re considering joining your life and finances to another person. This is a 3-part series on managing your money through the seasons of dating, pre-marriage (engagement), and marriage. On this second episode we’ll discuss pre-marriage and newly married and the money issues that are synonyms with this stage of your relationship. More importantly, we’ll share some ways you can begin working together and build a foundation of trust.
Median Net Worth in 2010 according to the census bureau for 55-64
· $261,405 - Married Couples
· $71,428 - Single Male
· $39,043 - Single Female
Brookings whittled down a lot of analysis into three simple rules. You can avoid poverty by:
Graduating from high school.
Waiting to get married until after 21 and do not have children till after being married.
Having a full-time job.
If you do all those three things, your chance of falling into poverty is just 2 percent. Meanwhile, you’ll have a 74 percent chance of being in the middle class.
60% of couples in marriage counseling identify money as a major problem in their relationship.
“In any relationship you have to cross certain bridges, if the relationship is strong enough then you can cross that bridge without fear of the weight of the conversation”
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS AS A COUPLE:
What memories do you have of your parents handling money?
Describe the temperament or personality of your future spouse and how this influences their money habits.
Have you seen your partner’s credit score and discussed what it means?
o Free Score - CreditKarma.com (or any other free resource)
o Free Report - AnnualCreditReport.com (only government approved free site)
Do you have savings? How much? What are you saving for?
Which of you live on a written spending plan? Share it.
What debts does each bring into the marriage and what should be repaid first, second, and so on?
Do you plan to accrue more debt before marriage? How much?
Do you have an auto loan or is it paid for? How often do you hope to replace your vehicles?
Do you owe the IRS money? Do you owe money to your parents? Do you have any other loans?
If previously married, what monthly obligations need to be budgeted for?
What are your first three money goals as a couple? How often will you review financial goals together?
Example: pay cash for wedding, pay off car debt, save $1,000 emergency fund, combine our checking accounts, save 20% down payment for a home, honor God with first 10% of income, create a budget together, pay cash for next car, etc.
How do you feel about giving God the first and best of your increase by tithing from your income? Do you have a percentage figure in mind? If you don’t agree, how will you come together in agreement?
How do you feel about using credit cards regularly? Do you feel it’s OK to keep a running balance that never gets paid in full? Why or why not?
Where do you want to live - a house in the suburbs or an uptown loft? What is the plan to pay for it? Are you aware that housing should be no more than about 35% of net take home pay?
Do you want kids? How many? Do you both expect to keep working or will one of you stay home to raise children when they come? Can you live on one income, what does your budget tell you?
Have you discussed the need for life insurance when kids come? Will you have enough insurance proceeds to fully replace income of the primary wage earner? For how long?
How will you regularly share your financial account information with each other so you both know how much you have and where it is located? What about account passwords?
If you notice there is significant difference in your views, what do you do?
Admit you might have a problem.
Acknowledge how you were raised.
Be open to receiving advice.
Realize the need for balance, you are marrying someone different for a reason.
Ready to say “I do”? Let’s look at the things you need to think of leading up to the wedding.
Are you paying for the wedding?
How much are you planning to spend on the wedding ceremony, reception, ring, band, food, alcohol, cakes, dresses, suits, photographer, videographer?
Consider these average wedding costs, again from The Knot ($30,000):
Venue - $16,107
Photographer - $2,783
Reception band/music - $4,156
Florist - $2,534
Videographer - $1,995
Wedding dress - $1,564
Groom's attire - $280
Wedding cake - $582
Ceremony site - $2,197
Ceremony musicians - $755
Invitations - $462
Transportation - $859
Favors - $268
Rehearsal dinner - $1,378
Engagement ring - $6,163
Officiant - $278
Catering (price per person) - $71
Wedding day hair care - $119
Wedding day make-up - $100